The aim of the LoDoCo2 (Low Dose Colchicine for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease) trial was to investigate the effect of low dose colchicine (0,5 mg once daily) on the risk of myocardial infarction (fatal or non-fatal), stroke, or the need for coronary bypass or stent placement. While the precise mechanism through which colchicine mitigates major cardiovascular events remains incompletely understood, it is hypothesized that its anti-inflammatory effects contribute to risk reduction among patients with established atherosclerotic disease.

LoDoCo2 stands out in several respects. It represents a large-scale randomized clinical trial conducted entirely by a non-academic network of cardiologists and a consortium of pharmaceutical companies with a focus on drug repurposing. This trial underscores the potential value of older, often cost-effective medications in advancing the development of new innovative drugs.

The Research
Following a median follow-up period of 3 years, the addition of colchicine to standard treatment resulted in a 30% reduction in risk of myocardial infarction (fatal or non-fatal), stroke, or the need for coronary bypass or stent placement. Patients treated with colchicine exhibited similar side effects compared to those receiving a placebo. Furthermore, no interactions were found with other commonly used drugs such as (potent) statins.

In 2021, certain international guidelines had already incorporated colchicine into the secondary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Subsequently, in 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Lodoco® (colchicine) for reducing the risk of myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, coronary revascularization, and cardiovascular (CV) death in adult patients with established atherosclerotic disease or multiple risk factors for CV disease. This approval was based on published data regarding the effects of colchicine on cardiovascular events, along with insights from the LoDoCo2 trial. The LoDoCo2 investigators anticipate that colchicine will become the standard treatment for patients with coronary artery disease.

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Contact person:

A. Schut (Astrid)

Principal investigators

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The GENIUS II (Generating Evidence-Based Pharmaceutical Targets and Drugs for Atherosclerosis) consortium is dedicated to studying atherosclerosis, the primary pathological condition underlying cardiovascular diseases. The consortium aims to translate identified druggable targets for atherosclerosis intervention into clinical applications. Gender specificity is a key consideration in all our studies. Our consortium's talent program is structured to provide young researchers with insights into the opportunities and challenges of cardiovascular drug development. The Research GENIUS II research integrates knowledge of dyslipidemia and associated immune responses. Our work is organized into distinct work packages that correspond to the logical steps in drug development. Each selected target from GENIUS I is strategically incorporated into this framework. Our investigations encompass in vitro and in vivo analyses to understand mechanisms, druggability, and effects on atherosclerosis. In addition to building upon GENIUS I drug targets and leads, we leverage recent innovative advancements to identify new druggable targets within male and female atherosclerotic lesions, as well as in circulating cells. State-of-the-art molecular biology techniques, including single cell sequencing and immunophenotyping, are actively employed to dissect immunometabolic processes within atherosclerotic plaques and patients. These studies will enable us to monitor the presence of drug targets at disease sites, expediting drug design and potentially identifying gender-specific biomarkers to aid disease progression monitoring and diagnosis. Subsequent studies involve testing the efficacy of small molecules, monoclonal antibodies, and siRNA against pre-selected targets from GENIUS I. We have identified small molecules and monoclonal antibodies for five targets, which will undergo toxicity and proof-of-pharmacology studies to progress towards drug development for cardiovascular patients. We have also identified three drugs affecting primary targets from GENIUS I and are assessing their potential to reduce atherosclerotic parameters in First-In-Human clinical trials.
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